THEORY: A Russian Novel Inspired Alleged Idaho Killer
Raskolnikov was a killer. He believed some men were created superior to others. He considered himself a member of the better club. In reality, he was a wallflower and struggled with relationships. To prove he played by a different set of rules, he killed an elderly neighbor. Then the life of the protagonist of Crime and Punishment spiraled out of control.
I woke from sleep thinking about the book and the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students. The previous afternoon I had been reading the reactions from his classmates on the other side of the river in Washington. He’s an American Raskolnikov! A cipher with delusions of grandeur.
The novel is set in Russia. St. Petersburg rather than Moscow. It was assigned reading my junior year of college, right before spring break. My plans were to go to Florida with friends. My dad said absolutely not. I spent the break at his house. In April and watching the snow fall from the sky, I read the book. When I returned to campus, it appeared I was the only person in class who had finished all 600 pages. It was a great read. The author meant his work to be a criticism of modernism. Feodor Dostoevsky wrote several decades before the Russian Revolution. He wanted to warn his countrymen of the godless future that was brewing.
The accused U of I killer is a criminal justice major and was in a doctoral program. It’s quite possible the story of Raskolnikov is on a reading list he consumed. Did he walk away with the wrong lesson?
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